From the Tigris River that flows through, to the intact Roman walls, to the Silk Road inn that still welcomes travelers to the Kurdish people that live here, Diyarbakir is a city in the fertile crescent of many layers.
Diyarbakir once again stands as a reminder that this is more Arab than the typical Turkish lands, evidenced particularly by the Kurdish people who live here. In fact, the name city got its name Diyarbakir in the 7th century, meaning "land of the Arabs." The Kurds are an Iranian ethnic group that has lived in the mountainous regions of southeast Turkey, northwest Iran, Iraq and Syria since the second millennium B.C., still speaking the Kurdish language and adhering to their ancient customs.
The great Tigris River marks the eastern edge of town, which is synonymous with (and the nearby Euphrates) the cradle of civilization, the Fertile Crescent and Mesopotamia. It was mentioned in the first page of the Bible and has been at the confluence of the first civilizations. From mountains up north, the Tigris runs pas tDiyarbakir and travels through the heart of Iraq until emptying into the Persian Gulf. This legendary river appears foreign and unreachable, yet herein Diyarbakir it has been built into their daily lives. Diyarbakir has distinct Roman remnants in the form of old,crumbling city walls, forming the boundary of the old town from the new. Several intact gates mark the entryway, with Arabic inscriptions beautifully carved in its stones (no doubt a later addition). Diyarbakir also stood has a favorable resting stop for Silk Road merchants. One of the original caravansaries – old Silk Road inns – still stands in the center of the old town, offering coffee and snacks to weary travelers. It is a beautiful moment to sit in this caravansary and imagine life in this city that has so many different layers.
THE SILK ROAD JOURNAL
How We Got Here:
Diyarbakir lies in the heart of Kurdish Turkey. We entered the city by bus from Dogubeyazit, nearing 8 hours and passing Lake Van.
Sitting in the old Silk Road carvansary converted to coffee shop, sipping extremely strong coffee and talking to Turkish locals.
First glimpsing the Tigris River was a surreal experience, as I always viewed it as unreachable and almost legendary, appearing on page 1 of the Bible.
➨ Cradle of Civilization ~ Read the Story
S N A P S H O T S O N T H E R O A D
W H E R E W I L L Y O U R J O U R N E Y T A K E Y O U N E X T ?
The time in the Kurdish lands must end here as the highlands of Armenia await. Stockpile the middle eastern flavors for the journey ahead, as you must choose between Ani, the ancient Capitol of Armenia, or Dogubeyazit, on old outpost on the shadows of Mount Ararat.